Civil Rights Trail Itinerary
Experience Alabama’s civil rights history.
You can fly into Birmingham’s airport to begin this exciting tour. The airport services American, Delta, Continental, United Express, Southwest, and US Airways/America West. By car, Birmingham is accessible by I-65, I-20 and I-59.
Start your tour at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, an interpretive museum that depicts the struggles of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. You will be enchanted by old and new exhibits that tell the story of a people and a movement. Across the street, visit the historic 16th Street Baptist Church, bombed by Klansmen in 1963, killing four little girls. Stroll through Kelly Ingram Park where sculptures depict the reality of the police dogs and fire hoses that were turned on demonstrators who gathered here to protest segregation laws.
- The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
- Across the street, historic 16th Street Baptist Church, a famous civil rights landmark that was bombed by Klansmen in 1963, killing four little girls.
- Across the street from the church, Kelly Ingram Park features sculptures depicting the reality of the police dogs and fire hoses that were turned on demonstrators who gathered at the park in the 1960s.
- Tour historic 4th Avenue North, location of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.
Attractions Contact Information:
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
One of the South’s finest museums offers photos, videos, audio and exhibits that take visitors inside the integration movement. See the cell where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the famous “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”
16th Street Baptist Church
Visit the church that suffered the deadliest moment in the history of the civil rights era. On Sept. 15, 1963, four girls preparing for Sunday school were killed by a bomb in the church basement.
The Tutwiler Hotel Hampton Inn & Suites – The Tutwiler has been selected for both the Mobil Travel Guide Four-Star and AAA Four Diamond awards. Built in the 1920s, The Tutwiler Hotel is a showplace in the heart of Birmingham’s vibrant business and financial districts.
2021 Park Place North
The Historic Redmont Hotel – Located in the heart of Birmingham’s financial and historic districts, this historic hotel is the city’s oldest operating hotel and is now its newest. Multi-million dollar renovations have transformed this property into a classic grand hotel.
2101 5th Avenue North
The Hotel Highland at Five Points South -The Hotel Highland at Five Points South is Birmingham’s premier boutique hotel nestled in historic Southside.
1023 20th Street South
Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast – National Historic Registered 1898 Inn favorably reviewed by The New York Times, Victorian Homes, Birmingham magazine, and Portico, and recipient of Birmingham Historical Society award.
1309 19th Street South
Highlands Bar and Grill – The Highlands baked grits are listed in the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” brochure.
2011 11th Avenue South
Hot and Hot Fish Club – The tomato salad and pickled okra are listed in the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” brochure.
2180 11th Court South
Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q – The cheese biscuits are listed in the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” brochure.
1908 11th Ave South
Niki’s West Steak & Seafood Restaurant – The vegetable buffet is listed in the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” brochure.
233 Finley Avenue West
Travel to Selma across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where the civil rights march began in 1965 and where law enforcement personnel confronted voting rights marchers on Bloody Sunday. The marches and other protests around the state eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Visit the Brown Chapel AME Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. launched the voting rights march. Tour the National Voting Rights Museum & Institute, which houses memorabilia honoring the attainment of the right to vote. Downtown, see the Old Depot Museum with artifacts from Native American days up through the voting rights era. In the afternoon, visit antebellum mansion Sturdivant Hall, designed by a cousin of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. See the Old Live Oak Cemetery, where Alabama and America’s first black congressman, Benjamin Sterling Turner, is buried.
Attractions Contact Information:
Brown Chapel AME Church
First AME church in state (1866); headquarters for blacks during the voting rights movement. Church is also the starting point for Selma-to-Montgomery marchers.
Edmund Pettus Bridge
A symbol of momentous changes in Selma, Alabama, America and the world. The bridge is the site where on March 7, 1965, voting rights marchers were violently attacked by law enforcement personnel. It is also where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led marchers across the bridge on the journey toward voting rights just 14 days later on March 21, 1965.
Old Depot Museum
This is an interpretive history museum in an 1891 railway depot. See artifacts from pre-history American Indians through the voting rights era; Civil War room, black heritage wing, military room (pre-WWI to the Persian Gulf), Victorian firehouse, antique railcars.
Voting Rights Trail Interpretive Center
This National Park Service center at the midpoint of the trail displays photographs and memorabilia. Center is located between mile markers 105 and 106 on U.S. 80.
National Voting Rights Museum & Institute
This modest museum showcases items and participants’ stories related to the voting rights movement.
St. James Hotel – The hotel anchors the Water Avenue Historic District and offers spectacular views of the river and the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Opening Spring 2020
Tally- Ho Restaurant
509 Mangum Avenue
Depart for Montgomery and follow the Selma-to-Montgomery Trail. Be sure to stop at the Viola Liuzzo historic marker, between Lowndesboro and Montgomery near mile marker 111. It is placed near the spot where Mrs. Liuzzo was shot and killed by four Klansmen while she was giving black marchers a ride back to Selma following the Selma-to-Montgomery march. Visit the Selma-to-Montgomery Trail Interpretative Center at White Hall to learn more about the marchers and the trials they encountered. In Montgomery, visit the Legacy Museum. This 11,000 square-foot museum is built on the site of a former warehouse where enslaved black people were imprisoned. Stop at the Rosa Parks Museum and feel what it was like to be arrested for not moving to the back of the bus. Also, visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence. The site includes a memorial square with 800 six-foot monuments to symbolize thousands of racial lynching victims in the United States and the counties and states where this terrorism took place. Take a break for lunch in downtown Montgomery. Stand in the pulpit at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached. Afterward, visit the Alabama State Capitol, the birthplace of the Confederacy and the final stop along the Selma-to-Montgomery march. Nearby, see the Civil Rights Memorial. Travel only a few blocks and visit the Dexter Parsonage Museum to tour the residence once occupied by Dr. King and his family.
- Follow the Selma-to-Montgomery Trail over the Edmund Pettus Bridge where law enforcement personnel confronted voting rights marchers.
- Selma-to-Montgomery Trail Interpretive Center – the National Park Service museum is at the midpoint of the Selma-to-Montgomery March and offers photos and memorabilia.
- The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice – Explore America’s history of racial injustice and its legacy
- Rosa Parks Museum – Feel what it was like to be arrested for not moving to the back of the bus.
- Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church – See where Dr. King started his ministry.
- Dexter Parsonage Museum – Tour the residence in Montgomery formerly occupied by Dr. King and his family. See actual furnishings from the time when Dr. King’s family lived in the home.
- Alabama State Capitol – See the birthplace of the Confederacy and the final stop along the Selma-to-Montgomery March.
- Civil Rights Memorial – The memorial designed by national artist Maya Lin is one block south of the church where Dr. King was pastor.
Attractions Contact Information:
Alabama State Capitol
Jefferson Davis was sworn in as President of the Confederate States of America on Feb. 18, 1861. A star on the Capitol steps marks the inauguration.
Civil Rights Memorial
Designed by Maya Lin, the memorial features water flowing over a marble table inscribed with names of 41 people who were killed in the struggle for the equal and integrated treatment of all people, regardless of race, during the 1954-1968 Civil Rights Movement. The wall is inscribed with an excerpt from the Book of Amos quoted in the historic speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Selma-to-Montgomery Trail Interpretive Center
The interpretive center is the first of three proposed along the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail. The museum exhibits interpret various events, including the confrontation of seminarian Jonathan Daniels; the slaying of Viola Liuzzo, a white woman who assisted the marchers by transporting them to Selma; and the establishment of “Tent City,” the temporary dwelling comprising of tents, cots, heaters, food and water, which benefited families dislodged by white landowners in Lowndes County.
The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice
The Equal Justice Initiative, the Montgomery-based non-profit organization that challenges racial injustice and mass incarceration of blacks, sponsors these two memorials that spotlight the history of lynching during post- Civil War Reconstructions and Jim Crow eras.
Rosa Parks Museum and Children’s Wing
State-of-the-art museum depicting events that started the bus boycott and early Civil Rights Movement. Interactive multimedia presentation.
Dexter Parsonage Museum
Visit the house where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his family lived from 1954 until 1959 when they moved to Atlanta. Today, visitors can still see the scars from the bomb left on the front porch one night during the bus boycott.
Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center – This downtown hotel boasts stunning architecture highlighted by modern amenities, a spa and a rooftop pool.
201 Tallapoosa Street
Hampton Inn – Located in the heart of downtown Montgomery next to the Hank Williams Museum in the city’s freshly redeveloped historic district.
100 Commerce Street
Red Bluff Cottage Bed and Breakfast – Located high above the Alabama River in the downtown historic Cottage Hill District. Enjoy a spectacular view of the State Capitol from the breezy verandah, or just unwind from your day’s activities in the peaceful gazebo.
551 Clay Street
Martin’s – Martin’s fried chicken is named as one of the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” brochure by the Alabama Tourism Department.
1796 Carter Hill Road
Railyard Brewing Co.
12 West Jefferson Street
Travel to Tuskegee and Moton Field, home of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. Tuskegee Airmen were among the best fighter pilots of World War II. Visit the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, which includes The Oaks, home of Booker T. Washington; the George Washington Carver Museum; and the historic Tuskegee University campus. Later, see the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center with its photography and videos about the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study as well as a timeline through Alabama history. Overnight in the area.
- Moton Field and Tuskegee Army Airfield, where the Tuskegee Airmen, famed black aviators, learned to fly.
- The Oaks, home of Booker T. Washington.
- George Washington Carver Museum, dedicated to the work of the famed scientist on the historic Tuskegee University campus.
- Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center. See photos and videos on the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study.
Attractions Contact Information:
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
View exhibits, enjoy guided walks and see Moton Field, where the Tuskegee Airmen trained for flight.
George Washington Carver Museum
Visit the Tuskegee University campus to see George Washington Carver’s research on peanuts, sweet potatoes and other crops that revolutionized Southern agriculture. View highlights in the life of Booker T. Washington, one of the most prominent black Americans of the 20th century.
See the 1899 home of Tuskegee Institute president Booker T. Washington designed by black architect Robert Taylor and students.
Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center
See how the Tuskegee civil rights story unfolded. View exhibits that tell of the region’s dynamic multicultural history, including the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study.
Tuskegee Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center– This hotel blends the stately Georgian architecture and Southern grandeur of the past with the modern amenities and comforts of the present.
1 Booker T Washington Boulevard
On-site restaurant at Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.